Poison ruled out as cause of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s death

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, November 8, 2013 10:16 EDT
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Chilean Pablo Neruda is pictured on October 12, 1971, after receiving the Nobel Literature Prize in Stockholm. (AFP)
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Forensic experts who examined the remains of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda found no evidence he was poisoned to death during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, an official said Friday.

“No relevant chemical agents that could be linked to Mr. Neruda’s death were found,” said Patricio Buso, director of Chile’s forensic medicine service.

The study confirmed that prostate cancer caused Neruda’s death in 1973, shortly after the military coup that brought Pinochet to power.

The Nobel laureate’s remains were exhumed in April and examined by a group of Chilean and foreign forensic experts after suspicions arose he may have been poisoned.

A former driver had claimed that Neruda was given a mysterious injection in his chest hours before his death in the Santiago clinic where he was being treated for advanced prostate cancer.

“Various complementary techniques confirmed the existence of metastatic lesions disseminated in various segments of the skeleton that correspond exactly with the disease for which Mr Pablo Neruda was being treated,” Bustos said.

The analysis, which was conducted at universities in Spain and the United States, found “no forensic evidence at all that would permit us to establish a medico-legal etiology of non-natural causes in the death of Mr. Pablo Neruda,” he said.

An active member of the Communist Party, Neruda died September 23, 1973 and was buried by the sea in Isla Negra, on Chile’s Pacific coast.

Famed for his love poems, Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.

Agence France-Presse
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